Noida farmers say construction has spoilt environment

August 4th, 2011 - 12:16 am ICT by IANS  

Greater Noida, Aug 3 (IANS) Early resolution of the Noida Extension tangle has run into rough weather with farmers raising environmental issues. They allege the unplanned construction has led to the disappearance of the once-common peacock and the air has become a permanent dust haze.

“Unlike Noida, the Greater Noida areas under dispute are highly fertile and rich in biodiversity. The haphazard and unplanned construction activities have led to several rare species of local fauna like peacock vanishing from the area,” said Ranvir Nagar, convener of Gramin Panchayat Morcha (GPM) and village head (pradhan) of Sadullapur.

The nexus of Greater Noida officials and private builders has not only violated allotment norms but committed a more grave offence in ignoring environmental concerns while undertaking construction activities in this lush green area that is full of canals, ponds and 400-500-year-old palm trees grown in grass fields maintained by the local management committee (LMC) of gram panchayats, added the convener.

“It is mandatory to seek environmental clearance from the union government if construction activities are being carried in the areas of more than 20,000 square meters. Here in Noida Extension more than 60 prominent builders are carrying their construction activities. The entire area has turned into a dusty barren land and even water channels of upper Ganges canal have got choked with mud, bricks and other construction material.

“But no builder has obtained clearance from environment ministry of union government. Even if the area is less than 20,000 square meter the clearance from state is mandatory but the over-confident builders have never bothered for mandatory provisions and have ruined the biodiversity of the area where peacocks used to roam,” claimed Gramin Panchayat Morcha.

The entire chunk of ponds, cattle grass fields, old trees have been razed by the heavy bulldozers of the builders. The area residents are facing asthmatic and respiratory problems with their lungs choked with dusty air created by the builders, claimed the GPM.

“Getting enraged over builders and local officials attitude the GPM lodged the complaint with the union minister for environment Ms. Jayanthi Natrajan, Chief Conservator Forest Central Zone Lucknow and Chief Secretary Uttar Pradesh government but all in vain,” said the convener of GPM.

“We are helpless; we can not go against state policies. We have received their complaint but it is beyond our powers. We can not create any hurdle in the projects cleared by the state. The farmers’ should go the Central Empowered Committee (CEC),” said B. Prabhakar, District Forest Officer (DFO) Gautam Budh Nagar.

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